Bengaluru, (DHNS): Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday announced a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to crack the murder of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh.
The SIT is headed by Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) B K Singh, who will be free to form a team as big as the probe necessitates, Siddaramaiah said after an emergency meeting with Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy and top police officials. DCP (West) M N Anucheth is the investigation officer.
Gauri, 55, was shot dead from point-blank range by three bike-borne assailants on Tuesday night. She was laid to rest Wednesday evening at the T R Mill burial ground at Chamarajpet in Bengaluru.
“The SIT has been formed exclusively for this case to intensify the investigation. I’m confident the perpetrators will be nabbed soon,” Siddaramaiah said. Insiders pointed out that the CM chose to form a SIT instead of handing over the case to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to avoid criticism, as the latter was yet to crack the killing of scholar M M Kalburgi, shot dead in Dharwad in August 2015.
The killing of Gauri was “an organised crime,” the chief minister said, adding that the police have obtained CCTV footage from her Rajarajeshwari Nagar residence, where she was gunned down. “There are four CCTVs in her house - one near the car park, one near the main door, one in the cellar and one behind the house. We have a footage showing the assailant entering the compound and opening fire. Gauri falls after taking 4-5 steps backwards. The assailant, however, was wearing a helmet,” Siddaramaiah said.
The assailant’s face, according to Home Minister Ramalinga Reddy, was not very clear in the footage. “That’s how it appeared to my eyes. I’m sure the police will be able to see clearly,” he said.
It was too early to connect Gauri’s murder to that of activists Narendra Dabholkar’s, Govind Pansare or writer Kalburgi, the CM said. “There are similarities in the cases of Dabholkar, Pansare and Kalburgi because of a common weapon used to kill them. In the case of Gauri, the investigation is still in a preliminary stage,” he said.
It is difficult to collect intelligence on such attacks, he said, rejecting the argument that Gauri's killing was an intelligence failure.
Siddaramaiah reiterated that Gauri had never expressed any threat to her life. “Gauri was a friend. She used to meet me regularly. In fact, she met me a week ago, but never once did she say she was facing threat.”
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